Impact of Long COVID on health and quality of life

HRB Open Res. 2022 Apr 22:5:31. doi: 10.12688/hrbopenres.13516.1. eCollection 2022.


Background: The aim of this study was to measure the impact of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) on quality of life, mental health, ability to work and return to baseline health in an Irish cohort. Methods: We invited individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 lasting more than 14 days to participate in an anonymous online questionnaire. Basic demographic data and self-reported symptoms were recorded. Internationally validated instruments including the patient health questionnaire somatic, anxiety and depressive symptom scales (PHQ-SADS), the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (PHQ-15) and Chadler fatigue scale (CFQ) were used. Results: We analysed responses from 988 participants with self-reported confirmed (diagnostic/antibody positive; 81%) or suspected (diagnostic/antibody negative or untested; 9%) COVID-19. The majority of respondents were female (88%), white (98%), with a median age of 43.0 (range 15 - 88 years old) and a median BMI of 26.0 (range 16 - 60). At the time of completing this survey, 89% of respondents reported that they have not returned to their pre-COVID-19 level of health. The median number of symptoms reported was 8 (range 0 to 33 symptoms), with a median duration of 12 months (range 1 to 20 months) since time of acute infection. A high proportion of PASC patients reported that they have a moderate or severe limitation in their ability to carry out their usual activities, 38% report their ability to work is severely limited and 33% report a moderate, or higher, level of anxiety or depression. Conclusion: The results of this survey of an Irish cohort with PASC are in line with reports from other settings, and we confirm that patients with PASC reported prolonged, multi-system symptoms which can significantly impact quality of life, affect ability to work and cause significant disability. Dedicated multidisciplinary, cross specialty supports are required to improve outcomes of this patient group.

Keywords: COVID-19; Long COVID; PASC.

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.19364828.v1

Grants and funding

This study was supported by a Science Foundation Ireland research center grant 12/RC/2273_P2. UN is supported by the Swedish Research Council- Viral Diseases 2021 grant (2021-00993).